If you’ve been in an auto accident, you may be trying to decide if you should hire a personal injury attorney to help you with your case. If you have never hired a personal injury attorney before, then you might be wondering what to expect.
In this article, we will discuss what to expect when you hire a personal injury attorney.
Schedule a consultation
Before you commit to hiring an attorney, the best thing to do is to schedule a consultation first. Most attorneys offer a free case review so you can discuss the details of your case and they can offer their expert opinion.
During the consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and determine whether they are a good fit for you. You should feel comfortable when talking to your attorney—this is a good indicator that you’ll work well together. This is the best time to discuss their compensation and fees as well.
Sign a contingency fee contract
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they are not paid hourly and will only get paid if you recover compensation from a settlement or a court trial. If you don’t recover any compensation, then your lawyer doesn’t collect any fees. In other words, a lawyer’s fees are “contingent” upon you recovering some amount of compensation.
The typical contingency fee percentage is 33% (or ⅓). For example, if you receive a settlement of $50,000, your lawyer would get paid a fee of $16,500.
Once you decide to work with a personal injury attorney, you will sign a contingency fee contract with them, and this establishes your attorney-client relationship.
Get regular updates about your case
As soon as your attorney starts working on your case, you should receive regular updates about its progress. Your attorney will reach out requesting additional information as needed and providing important updates. It’s important to understand that personal injury cases can take months to years to settle – so there will likely be periods of time when there doesn’t seem to be much activity on your case. Typically, these waiting times occur when your attorney is waiting on other parties to provide information (hospitals, physicians, opposing parties, insurance companies, etc.).
You may also contact your lawyer if you have any questions or if you want to know what is happening to your case.
Keep your lawyer informed about your well-being
Your health and recovery is crucial to your case. Thus, it’s important to keep your lawyer informed about how you’re doing regarding your well-being. Let him/her know if you have started a new treatment or diagnostic tests, whether your doctor has addressed all of your concerns, and how you’re feeling overall.
Getting the right medical treatment—and informing your attorney about your condition—not only protects your health, but also strengthens your claim and potential settlement. If you don’t get treated right away, it could lead to settlement issues with insurance companies.
What Is Your Lawyer Expected to Do?
Gather and analyze evidence
To represent you and help you strengthen your claim, your attorney will gather and analyze evidence from the accident. They will conduct a thorough investigation to understand all aspects of the accident. This will include reviewing the accident scene, police reports, photos and videos of the incident, medical records, witness testimonies, and more.
Communicate with insurance companies
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, but personal injury attorneys will ensure that you get the maximum compensation possible for your damages. Your attorney will communicate with the at-fault party’s insurance company and negotiate the settlement on your behalf.
Your attorney will be responsible for submitting a demand letter, discussing your claim, and negotiating the settlement until an agreement is reached.
Represent you during a trial
If your attorney and the other party’s insurance company can’t reach an agreement through negotiation, then your attorney might suggest going to court. This means that you will be filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.
A personal injury attorney will file the personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. He/she will take care of everything, from filing the summons to preparing you for discovery. Once the lawsuit has been filed and both parties still haven’t agreed upon a settlement, then the case will proceed to trial with your attorney representing you in court.
When Is the Best Time to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have been in an accident, the first and most important thing you must do is to seek medical attention. Go to the emergency room and get your injuries diagnosed and treated. Once you have been treated, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so the attorney can talk you through the best next steps.
Your first consultation with one of our Salt Lake City accident attorneys is free of charge, so call us now if you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident.